Did you know that in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, transportation accounts for the largest portion of community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Here at SCP, we’ve made the connection between electric vehicles and clean, renewable energy.
To tackle this daunting local issue, SCP implemented an incentive program known as Drive EverGreen to help customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties reduce GHG emissions, utilize more renewable energy, and contribute to climate change solutions by switching to a clean electric vehicle (EV). The program was largely aimed at reducing the cost of an EV, as well as eliminating the common barriers to EV adoption.
“Sonoma County’s Climate Action 2020 Report made it clear that vehicles are our biggest source of greenhouse gases: a problem, but also an opportunity because of SCP’s clean sources of electricity,” says SCP’s CEO Geof Syphers.
We are pleased to report that over the past two years, our program has helped customers save over $10 million on electric vehicles, and we have given away over 1,700 free home chargers!
The first iteration of the Drive EverGreen program was implemented in 2016 and offered customers a $2,500 incentive toward the purchase or lease of an eligible EV. Customers who were enrolled in either the California Alternative Rates for Energy (CARE) or Family Electric Rate Assistance (FERA) program received an additional $2,500, for a total incentive of $5,000. Additionally, customers were eligible to receive discounts offered by the two participating dealerships and the manufacturers of the qualifying vehicles.
SCP launched the second iteration of the program in August 2017 with an expanded selection of local dealerships and models for customers to choose from. Used vehicle incentives were also a new feature of the program. Due to the catastrophic wildfires in October, the duration of Drive EverGreen was extended for an extra month to provide our customers additional time to take advantage of the incentives.
“We know that there are a lot of barriers for the average resident of California to adopt an EV, but here at SCP we are trying to eliminate as many obstacles as possible so that everyone, regardless of income level, can be part of the clean energy transition. Switching to an EV not only reduces your impact on the environment, but it benefits you financially in the long run too,” said Cordel Stillman, SCP’s Director of Programs.
Post-program analysis reveals that 2017 Drive EverGreen customers received on average an astonishing $11,093 worth of discounts on a new EV, and CARE/FERA participants made up 10% of the overall certificates issued for the program.
Using the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation (AFLEET) Tool, which allows cities to estimate GHG emissions, air pollutants, and more, it is estimated that 2017’s Drive EverGreen program incentivized vehicles will reduce Sonoma County’s GHG emissions by 4,985 metric tons of CO2-equivalent over the next three years.
Other results of the program include finding that 51% of the program participants stated that they replaced, or will replace, a gasoline-fueled vehicle, and that 95% of participants will use their EV as their primary vehicle.
When looking at the long-term benefits of owning an EV, drivers can generally save money because of lower maintenance costs. Electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, and therefore have less components to maintain. There is also less wear-and-tear on brakes due to regenerative braking.
In addition to incredible vehicle savings, SCP partnered with Olivine Inc. and eMotorWerks, to provide customers with free smart chargers and the opportunity to be part of the GridSavvy Community. Each customer was eligible to receive two chargers per electric account, and since 2016, the program has deployed over 1,700 chargers to customers in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Customers who lost their home charger as a result of the fires were also offered a free replacement.
For those who took advantage of the free EV charger, there are opportunities for you to reduce your personal carbon footprint even further. Customers can upgrade to SCP’s premium EverGreen service so that they are driving on 100% local, renewable electricity.
After installing a free home charging unit, customers can also consider enrolling in GridSavvy, a demand-response program which uses the software and hardware built into the charger to adjust, or briefly interrupt, usage through remote signals from Sonoma Clean Power. By controlling the rate of charging of customers’ EVs, SCP can ensure that homes are using the cleanest, most renewable energy possible and are avoiding using power when California’s electric grid is particularly dirty and expensive.
As more EVs are deployed, they can become part of a greater effort to make electricity cleaner and enable more renewable energy. SCP is preparing for the third and final iteration of the Drive EverGreen program, which has been renamed Drive EV. The program is slated to run from August 1 – November 16, 2018. Visit DriveEV.org for more details.
Maybe it’s your turn to drive on clean power.